To bring you a comprehensive women's hiking pant review, we researched dozens of different models and brands and then tested 12 of the highest rated ones out there for our current review. We wore them for several months while hiking, climbing, and camping in the desert southwest. We also had a bunch of friends try them on to see how they fit a variety of women's shapes and wore them in a range of temperatures and weather conditions. Here's how we specifically tested them for our various metrics.
Comfort and Mobility
We hiked a lot of miles in every pair, with and without a heavy pack, and also scrambled through tight canyons and rock climbed in them. Throughout, we were gauging how comfortable the various pairs felt, and if there were any annoying features or seams. We noted the stretch of the material, whether the fit and the cut of the pants allowed for freedom of movement and if anything impeded us on the trail.
We assessed how versatile each pair is based on their ability to be used for a variety of activities and in a variety of climates.
Wearing these pants out in the hot desert surroundings of Southern Utah, gave us a great idea of how breathable each pair is. We wore these pants out in similar conditions and noted how well the material vented our perspiration. We also assessed the heaviness of the material and the ability to increase airflow.
After testing the pants in the field for several months, we examined each pair closely for any obvious signs of wear or weak points. Material thickness and strength was also factored in. We then compared them to well-used pairs in our closets and also read up on other users' reviews to see if there were any trends for durability issues.
We noted how well the pants blocked the wind while out hiking and made a note of whether they have a UPF rating or not. We also completed some specific water testing to see how well they resisted water. We sprayed each model repeatedly with a water bottle and noted how long it took for the water to soak through the material (or not). Then we dunked each pair, wrung them out, and set them out to dry on a sunny day, timing how long it took each one to dry.
By using the pants in the field and for a variety of activities, we were able to assess how useful the various features were on each pair, and graded them accordingly.